Five Social Media Food Photography Tips

    August 02 2021

    If you want drool-worthy food pictures to promote your restaurant or foodservice business, this is the post for you. 

    The truth is food photographs well— really well. With just a few clicks and taps on your phone,  you can fill your business profiles with crave-worthy photos that’ll leave your customers’ craving your food... 

    Not only are food photos easy to capture, but they’re also eye-catching on every social media feed. When Facebook ranked Instagram users’ top interests, Food and Drink came in third, with 43% of users interested (coming in just behind travel and music). 

    Are you ready to grow your social media engagement and your business? We thought so! It’s time to take advantage of this established interest and implement food photos into your brand’s social media content calendar. Let’s dig in and show how. 

    Social Media Users Crave Food Photography

    Food content isn’t just popular on Instagram. It is reported that 20% of all pins are food-related, making food and beverage the most popular content category on Pinterest. Food content is one of the best categories for long-form content, which speaks to its captivating nature.

    Implementing food pics into your social media strategy not only looks good, it performs well Nearly half of diners polled report trying a restaurant for the first time after seeing a tantalizing social media post. Additionally, client spends increased by over 40% for restaurants that engaged with their followers on social media.

    Food Photography Icons

    There’s no shortage of food photography on the internet and content=inspiration. Here are some stellar food photography examples you can draw inspo from:


    Food52 is one Pinterest account you’ll want to keep close by for inspiration when planning your content calendar. 

    They keep creativity at the forefront, prioritizing food photography that tempts all the right senses.


    Just look at how they captured these beet-chickpea cakes with tzatziki. The bright, complementary color palette is pleasing to the eye, and it even shows off varied textures between the fresh dill, bread, and the runny bits of egg.

    MeMe’s Diner

    MeMe’s Diner is a great example of branded food photography. Every bit of content from their graphics to their actual food photography keeps to their warm and bright color scheme while keeping the crave-worthy food front and center.



    The best food photography evokes feelings, both emotional and physical. Sweetgreen masters the art of evoking physical sensations through photography in this photo of a juicy AF peach.


    We mean, come on. Can’t you feel the juice dripping down your arm as you take a bite out of this gem? When photographing your food, think about ways to manipulate the dish to make the viewer feel like they’re eating it right along with you. 

    PLANOLY-Blog Post-Food & Bev Photography-Img 1


    5 Tips To Master Food Photography 

    #1 Use Natural Light

    Natural light is your best friend! Overhead lights, lamps, and built-in flash don’t do the food justice. Feel free to scoot around your restaurant (or even pop outside) to get the best shot with the best lighting. 

    #2 Take Multiple Angles

    Every dish has its preferred angle, just like people! Shoot photos from multiple angles for the best results. Here’s a cheat sheet, though: plates of food like pizza look great from above, burgers and sandwiches from the side, and drinks are stunning at a 45-degree angle.

    #3 Get Picky About Your Props

    Be picky about what’s in your shot. Yes, napkins are an essential part of the table setting. But if they aren’t adding to your photo, they’re taking away from it. Don’t be afraid to include well-thought-out elements in the photo. A slightly crumpled, stained napkin might fit nicely in a pic of half-eaten hot wings. Use your best judgment.

    #4 Use White-balance

    If your colors aren’t true to life, you can use your editing software’s white-balance feature to fix this. Many phones have editing features right there in the camera function.  

    #5 Edit to Make Your Photos POP

    You can also adjust the contrast and sharpness of your photos to make the food pop. All of this editing can be done in Photoshop. Don’t have photoshop or know how to use it? No problem! There are numerous apps available, some free and others reasonably priced, that will allow you to quickly edit your photos creating a professional finishing touch. 

    The Best Food Photography Hashtags and How to Use Them

    Hashtags are a combination of letters, numbers, and emojis that help categorize the content. Using popular hashtags helps users discover your brand’s social media posts.

    Foodie content has infiltrated Instagram’s most popular hashtags, with #food making it into the top 30. However, using lesser-known hashtags can work in your favor. Underrated hashtags are less saturated and can lead to more eyes on your content. 

    Check out these top-performing underrated hashtags for the food community. 

     Food and Vegan Community













    Incorporating a mix of popular and less popular hashtags will ensure your content doesn't in the shuffle. Stand out on the plate and online by using cuisine-specific hashtags. For example, if you’re posting a pic of a plate of juicy tandoori chicken, include hashtags like #tandoori chicken and #indianfood.

    Related: The Best Hashtags to Grow Your Instagram Audience

    That’s a wrap on best food photography practices! If you or yourself know someone in the food industry looking to kickstart their restaurant or food Instagram, check out our free downloadable food and beverage guide. In it are tips for finding your target audience and content planning ideas and techniques. We can't wait to see what you foodies come up with! 

    Learn more about Megan Martinez, on PLANOLY

    Megan Martinez

    Megan is the Customer Marketing Specialist at PLANOLY. She is our go-to for knowing our community's needs and interests.

    More by Megan Martinez

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